Grit and glitz

I had a chance to see Iron Man 3 over the weekend. It was enjoyable, but it made me think about how the creation of a sense of reality is key to film. Especially and ironically, it is essential to superhero films. Perhaps the more fantastic the film world and the premise, the more it should be made to feel real so that we are able to situate ourselves as viewer participants.

There is a tendency in superhero films to make everything too glitzy, too polished, presumably so that we think the superhero world is cool and fantastic. Maybe so that it seems so unlike reality. Maybe so that we can leave the mundane behind. But, I find that this makes it harder for me to become involved in the film.

The more polish and glitz, the more details there are to bring me out of the story and the characters. The more aware I am that we’re in a world that bears little resemblance to the real.

Superhero movies often belong to the “more is more” school of film-making. Take “The Avengers” as a recent example. Widely praised and loved by fans and critics, it’s ultimately a weak and forgettable film. In “The Avengers” there is an all-star team of superheroes (including a god), flying aircraft carriers, and an enemy from another dimension. All these things are true to the comic book, but it’s so over the top that it stops being interesting. Where can you go in terms of story? Maybe things which make sense in comic books stop making sense on film. Comic books being a low-resolution medium with lots of completion necessary… it makes sense that you need to punch things up to make things compelling. But in a film, it’s just too much. I don’t care. I can’t care.


1 comment

  1. I definitely agree with you there. It’s much easier to handwave details that fall between the panels in a comic; in film, more information is required.